Heart of Palm
**This post is part of our Wild & Edible series, where we showcase various wild and edible plants in San Diego and their uses.**
We feel it is important to have this knowledge in case you are ever stuck in a sticky situation, such as being lost on a hike and need to forage in order to survive. It also helps re-connect us to the land, which due to technology, most of us are being pulled further and further away.
Native plants may grow on your own property, or a friend’s property, in which case it is completely legal to harvest from. Plant nurseries often have a native plant section as well, where you can purchase your own plants! Otherwise, wild harvesting is considered illegal in most places in San Diego. Learn your plants and grow your wisdom!
I had the unique opportunity to try fresh heart of palm one day when my neighbors were cutting down some palm trees on their property and invited me to try it. Harvesting it is no simple feat, but if you’ve got the right tools and dedication, maybe you can try it fresh one day too! Eating heart of palm kills most palm tree varieties unless they are multi-trunked, so only try it if the tree is already having to be cut down.
Heart of palm is actually considered a vegetable which is harvested from the inner core of certain palm trees. We harvested ours from a Canary Island date palm. The heart is crunchy and has a toasty, meaty flavor similar to a coconut. It was super tasty!
Harvesting: We obviously had a huge advantage to harvesting by using a chainsaw. You must first cut the outer layers and inner fibers off, slowly revealing the white core. Here’s a cool survivalist video on harvesting heart of palm with a machete.
Nutrition: Hearts of palm are rich in fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, vitamins B2, B6, and C. They are ranked as a “good” source of protein, riboflavin, and potassium, and as a “very good source” of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and especially, manganese, along with being a good ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
So basically, not only are these a delicious vegetable but also packed with nutrients!
There it is!
Look at all that meat!!
Sage was actually obsessed with it which I was really surprised!